Marqise Lee is out for the season, can fantasy football owners expect any Jaguars receivers to step up big?
After suffering what looked like a severe knee injury on Saturday against the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee seemed sure to be out for awhile. That has been confirmed now, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting Lee has ligament damage in the knee and will miss the season.
Lee led the Jaguars in targets (96) and receptions (56) last year, while finishing second in yards (702). He got a greater opportunity with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns both missing time in 2017, and with both of those guys gone in free agency this offseason Lee was in line to be Jacksonville’s No.1 wide receiver this year.
The Jaguars found a formula that worked last year, on their way to a second half lead in the AFC Championship. That formula is “less Blake Bortles is more,” as he attempted over 100 fewer passes (523) than he did in 2016. That will not change this year, with Leonard Fournette as a workhorse back and one of the best defenses in the league.
But an 18.3 percent target share from last year (based on 525 quarterback pass attempts) is available for the rest of Jacksonville’s passing game. Narrowing in on the 14 games Lee played, before missing Week 16 and 17, he had a 21.9 percent target share over that span.
Keelan Cole came out of nowhere to lead the Jaguars in receiving yards last year (748) while averaging 17.8 yards per catch. He’s now the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, with Donte Moncrief in line to start. Behind them will be Dede Westbrook and rookie D.J. Chark, and undrafted rookie Allen Lazard may be able to make a legit push for a bigger role.
Moncrief never fully reached his potential over four seasons with the Colts. But he did have 13 touchdown catches over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, so he was least in line to be a prominent red zone target and will now get more targets overall.
No Jaguars’ wide receivers will now become a fantasy stud in Lee’s absence, due to low pass volume and multiple options to divide the available target share. But feel free to bump Cole up your cheat sheet a couple spots, and Moncrief is on the radar as a late pick in drafts and auctions. Westbrook and Chark may get some trickle down, and a target or two more per game may go the way of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.